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9 Incredible Health Benefits of Cucumber

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/23/2020

It's clear that cucumbers are mostly made up of water and are great for keeping you hydrated. What's less known is that cucumbers are highly nutritious and linked to various health benefits, including supporting your digestive health and promoting glowing skin.


Cucumbers are nutrient-rich and a perfect addition to your ketogenic diet. They're low in carbs and packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting phytochemicals. 


Here's why eating cucumber regularly can help you stay healthy.

Cucumber juice and slices

Is cucumber healthy?


Cucumbers are nutrient-rich, low in calories, and high in water content, making them an excellent food that supports healthy nutrition and keeps you hydrated.  


Cucumbers contain various vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and K, magnesium, potassium, and manganese, and they’re incredibly rich in phytochemicals. In fact, cucumbers contain more than 70 phenolic compounds, which are health-promoting plant chemicals with potent anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.  


And, what’s more, cucumbers are on the Keto Diet Food List. Half a cup of sliced cucumber contains less than two grams of net carbs, making cucumber a nutritious and keto-friendly food that you should be eating regularly.  


Cucumber nutrition facts

A serving of one cup of unpeeled, raw cucumber contains: 

 

  • 16 calories

  • 0 g total fat

  • 1 g protein

  • 2.5 g net carbs

    • 1.5 g fiber

    • 4 g total carbs


Not only are cucumbers low-carb and low-calorie, but they also contain essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Cucumbers are an excellent source of:


  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin K 

  • Calcium 

  • Beta-carotene 

  • Magnesium

  • Potassium 

  • Manganese 


Watch the video below to discover the health benefits of cucumber. 



Health benefits of cucumber


Almost 95 percent of cucumber is water, and cucumbers are well known for being one of the most hydrating vegetables. But, the health benefits of cucumbers go way beyond just being a good source of hydration


Here are nine reasons why you should regularly add cucumbers to your diet. 


1. Support healthy blood sugar balance

Cucumbers can benefit people with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes. 


Cucumbers are low in carbs and high in fiber, a winning combination when it comes to maintaining healthy blood sugar and insulin levels. Healthy blood sugar and insulin levels promote metabolic health and lower the risk of developing diabetes. 


2. Promote healthy cholesterol 

The seeds in cucumbers contain phytosterols, a group of plant chemicals similar to cholesterol. 


Research shows that consuming cucumber seeds lowers harmful LDL cholesterol linked to stroke and heart attacks. In addition, cucumber seeds appear to promote healthy blood lipid levels, which supports the health of your blood vessels and cardiovascular function. 


3. Support weight-loss

Eating cucumber is excellent for a healthy waistline. Cucumbers are rich in dietary fiber, supporting satiety and curbing hunger. 


They also promote healthy blood sugar levels, which supports metabolic health and is crucial for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.


4. Promote healthy blood pressure 

If you suffer from high blood pressure, you may want to include more cucumbers in your diet. 


Cucumbers are a rich source of potassium, an essential mineral for regulating blood pressure. Because potassium is needed to maintain the body's blood volume, it promotes healthy blood pressure and may lower the risk of stroke. 


5. Anti-inflammatory properties  

Eating cucumbers can be beneficial for people who suffer from conditions characterized by inflammation, such as arthritis, eczema, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease.


Cucumbers contain compounds like cucurbitacins, flavonoids, and lignans which have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects.


Cucumbers are also rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene. These nutrients have antioxidant properties that help combat harmful free radicals. Free radicals are metabolic by-products that can cause cellular damage and inflammation.

X-ray image of bone

6. Support bone health

Cucumbers contain essential nutrients for bone health, including vitamin K and silica.  


Research suggests that silica is needed to maintain the strength and density of bones and helps to stimulate the formation of collagen, a protein that gives bones structure and rigidity. 


Vitamin K promotes the formation of bone and stimulates bone mineralization. Adequate intake of vitamin K has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by low bone density and increased risk of fractures.


7. Promote glowing skin

Cucumbers have various benefits for skin health. They're mostly made up of water, which helps to keep skin hydrated, and contain several antioxidants that protect skin cells from sun damage and oxidation. 


Applying cucumber slices to your skin has a cooling and soothing effect that can relieve puffiness and may reduce dark circles around the eyes. 


8. Support digestive health 

Cucumbers are high in water and dietary fiber, which helps to keep the digestive tract lubricated and promotes regular bowel movements. 


Additionally, cucumbers contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help to reduce inflammation in the intestines and support overall gut health.


Fermented cucumber products contain beneficial bacteria that can aid your digestive health by promoting diverse intestinal microflora


9. Promote brain health 

Cucumbers contain various nutrients that may be beneficial for brain health. 


They’re a good source of vitamin K, which is important for cognitive function and maintaining healthy blood flow to the brain. They also contain flavonoids, a group of phytochemicals that may help to protect the brain from oxidative damage.  


Eating cucumbers can help reduce stress and anxiety as they contain minerals such as magnesium and potassium, essential for maintaining calmness and mental balance. 

Cucumber slices

Key takeaways


Cucumbers aren’t generally considered a superfood. However, you shouldn’t overlook this highly nutritious and keto-friendly vegetable. 


Consuming cucumbers benefits your health and can lower the risk of developing diabetes and hypertension. It also promotes healthy skin and helps your body fight inflammation.


Cucumbers have excellent nutritional value and are a versatile ingredient that you can enjoy raw or fermented or add to your favorite keto smoothie recipe



FAQ


1. Is cucumber a superfood?

While cucumbers are generally not considered a superfood, they are a highly nutritious vegetable with surprising benefits for your health. Cucumbers are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals with various health-promoting properties.

  

2. Are pickles as healthy as cucumbers?

Fresh cucumbers are healthier than pickles. Pickles are typically brined in a solution high in salt and sugar and may contain other additives that can negatively impact your health. 


In contrast to pickles, fermented cucumber products (lacto-fermented pickles) contain beneficial bacteria that support your digestive health by promoting a diverse intestinal microflora. Most store-bought pickles are not fermented—they are instead soaked in vinegar or a saltwater brine.


When choosing store-bought pickles, check the label for sugar, high sodium, and unhealthy additives.


3. What happens if I eat cucumbers every day?

Consuming cucumbers daily is an excellent choice to support balanced nutrition, promote digestive health and hydration, and may lower your risk of blood sugar imbalances and high blood pressure. 


4. What are the benefits of eating cucumbers?

Regularly eating cucumber benefits your health in surprising ways. Cucumbers are rich in essential nutrients linked to balanced cholesterol levels, healthy skin, and bone health—they may also lower the risk of diabetes.


Cucumbers contain good amounts of dietary fiber, supporting digestive health and regular bowel movements.


5. What are the disadvantages of cucumber?

While cucumbers are a nutritious food, they're often treated with pesticides, and it's important to choose organic cucumbers whenever possible. If organic produce isn't available, thoroughly wash cucumbers or peel the skin to limit pesticide exposure.  


Cucumbers are relatively high in oxalates, and it's recommended to avoid eating too much cucumber if you are prone to kidney or bladder stones.

 

6. Are raw cucumbers healthy?

Yes, raw cucumbers are healthy and nutritious. Although cucumbers are better known as a salad ingredient, it’s possible to cook cucumbers.  


Lightly steaming cucumbers leads to increased polyphenol release, enhancing their health-promoting properties. However, overcooking cucumber can quickly destroy vitamins and enzymes that are thought to aid digestion. 


7. Are cucumbers good for weight loss?

Cucumbers are low-calorie and mostly made up of water. They also contain fiber, the indigestible parts of plant food that help to keep you full and satisfied, which curbs hunger and helps you avoid snacking.   


8. How many carbs are in cucumbers?

One cup of sliced and unpeeled cucumber contains four grams of total carbs and less than three grams of net carbs.


9. Do I need to peel cucumbers?

Cucumber skin is edible and contains some beneficial nutrients, including fiber and vitamin K. However, cucumbers often have a wax coating and may be treated with pesticides, and it's best to peel cucumber if you can't purchase unwaxed organic produce. 

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